The ART Of Business

The Web and Our Minds: Overconnected and Shallow?

For those of us who are tired of mindless PowerPoint presentations; interruptions by iPhone and Blackberry addicts; and, all the blather on the Web, we might find ourselves wishing for the saner, simpler days of the past.

Two excellent books I recently finished speak to the impact a lot of it negative- that all this new technology has on our brains and the ability to execute good decisions.

Nicholas Carr's The Shallows thoughtfully challenges much of the conventional wisdom espoused by "Net Enthusiasts". Using strong empirical studies and illustrating how the Internet alters the neuro-plasticity of our brains, Carr points out that,

"The computer screen bulldozes our doubts with its bounties and conveniences. It is so much our servant that is would be churlish to notice that it is also our master."

He goes on to discuss how more spent time on the Web makes us less able to focus for long, uninterrupted periods of time- changing the way our brain actually works.

William Davidow's Overconnected looks at "what happens to a system when connectivity increases dramatically both inside and outside of it, and parts, if not the whole, are able to adjust." He interestingly suggests how the 2008 financial crisis was largely a result of "overconnectivity".

Both Carr and Davidow make strong cases that we might want to re-consider the role that technology and the Web play in our personal and public lives. Check em out

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